UNI swimming and diving start season at 1-2

JOEL WAUTERS, Sports Editor | [email protected]

The UNI women’s swimming and diving team have hit the water running as they began their 2017-2018 season. In their three meets so far this year, the Panthers have faced some very stiff competition.

On Oct. 6, the purple and gold traveled to Iowa City to take on a pair of Big Ten foes in the Iowa Hawkeyes and Michigan State Spartans. In the double duel, the Panthers picked up some impressive wins against both teams.

Sophomore Katie Taylor took first in three events: the 100 backstroke, 200 backstroke and the 200 individual medley, in which she reset her own Missouri Valley Conference record.

Fellow sophomore Moriah Ross put up impressive swims as well, winning the 200 breaststroke, taking second in the 100 breaststroke and finishing just behind Taylor in the 200 individual medley. In addition, the 200 medley relay team of Taylor, Ross, Crystal Florman and Molly Lembezder took second, clocking in at 1:44.08. In the diving well, junior Alyssa Deuso led the way for UNI on the one meter springboard scoring 223.05, while senior Hannah Brummel scored 234.20 on the three meter board.

Despite the strong performance, the Panthers fell to the Hawkeyes 184-113, and to the Spartans 195-105.

The Panthers returned home the following week for a set of weekend meets. To open up competition in the home pool on Oct. 13, UNI would have to face another challenging Big Ten opponent, the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Taylor picked up two more wins in the 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke, while Lembezder swept the 50 and 100 freestyle events. In addition, Taylor, Ross, Florman and Lembezder took first in the 200 medley relay. Brummel finished fourth in the diving well on the three meter board at 227.46, as freshman Izzy Bunchek took third with a 242.47 in the one meter.

Despite falling to the Huskers 154-86, head coach Nick Lakin was pleased with his team’s performance, saying, “We raced a really tough opponent today and have made improvements from last week.”

The following day, the Panthers welcomed the Sioux Falls Cougars to Cedar Falls. Taylor finished on top of the podium on both the 100 breaststoke and 200 backstroke, while sophomore Madison Rinaldi finished just a few seconds behind her teammate in the 200 back.

Ross and Lembezder went one and two in the 100 butterfly swimming 59.83 and 1:00.43 respectivly, while sophomore Jordan McCullough took the 500 freestyle in 5:20.26. In addition to winning their first meet of the season 166.5-99.5, diver Izzy Bunchek picked up a major accomplishment as she qualified for the NCAA Zone Diving Championships, a crucial step in qualifying for the national championship meet to be held on the campus of Ohio State University next March.

UNI will hit the road this weekend for another set of meets, visiting the South Dakota Coyotes on Friday and the South Dakota State Jackrabbits on Saturday.